Government quack or simple change of mind? We probably won’t know. In any case, the position of the executive on the cost of tests for tourists coming to France this summer 2021 has radically changed: while they should be free, the free had even been presented as an asset of France, they will ultimately pay off. Bad news for foreign tourists who had chosen France to spend a few days of vacation.
When Clément Beaune announced that the tests were free …
The month of May 2021 was still running and the government was preparing for deconfinement and, above all, the summer period, which was strategic for economic recovery. Tourism was in the spotlight and, Sunday May 16, 2021 on Cnews, Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs, declared that screening tests for Covid-19 would be free for foreign tourists who came to France during the summer.
” We need, we want, in good sanitary conditions, to remain the leading European and world tourist destination “, Declared Clément Beaune then even speaking of a” economic challenge ” for France. For him, and for the government at that time, offering free tests for foreign tourists meant improving the attractiveness of France and therefore potentially attracting more tourists. The hope was that some of them would choose France in order to save on tests, which represent a real budget.
Finally, the screening tests will pay for foreigners
But a little over a month later, things have changed: the Delta variant worries health authorities around the world and we now know that screening tests are expensive for Health Insurance: nearly 100 million euros per week. Free admission for foreigners therefore risked pushing up the bill.
Gabriel Attal, government spokesperson, therefore had the wrong role on June 30, 2021: he had to announce the change in government strategy. The screening tests will indeed pay off for foreign tourists, starting July 7, 2021.
The price remains relatively low: “ 49 euros for PCRs and 29 euros for antigens », Where some countries charge more than 100 euros for the PCR test. But for a family of 4, that represents a surplus of 120 to 200 euros. ” It’s a matter of reciprocity knowing that these tests are paid in most countries for French people who travel “, did he declare.